Q.I have a daughter who is a high school senior. Her guidance counselor often posts your column on the bulletin board outside of his office door to encourage “good choices.’’ I have heard that employment professionals often check a candidate’s Facebook page before making a hiring decision. I am not a big Facebook person. I joined to check my daughter’s profile and comments. Sometimes her information does border on being inappropriate. For example, photos of her and friends sunbathing. There are a few inappropriate comments, too. Do colleges also check these pages?
A. Employers are increasingly checking online profiles, including Facebook. It is important that your daughter’s privacy controls are in place.
Employers are trying to gather all the information available on a candidate. If a candidate has several pictures of themselves at parties, drinking beer, etc., then a hiring representative might reconsider extending an offer.
Any hire is a risk and companies want to mitigate risks. “If a potential employer finds inappropriate material on a social media site, chances are good they will use that information in a hiring decision,’’ said Mike Astringer, founder of Human Capital Consultants, a recruiting and human resources consulting firm with offices in Cambridge and Waltham.
A growing number of college admissions officers admit to checking applicants’ Facebook pages. Many feel since it is in the public domain, it is information available to them. It is a smart idea for students (and others) to look at their Facebook pages critically and remove anything that is racier than PG-13. The main profile photo should be positive and professional. A high school graduation photo would be a good choice for your daughter.
In addition to removing salacious photos, all of us need to be aware that negative comments could have repercussions (especially regarding a college or a prospective employer). Many of us are connecting with colleges and companies. Colleges and employers are able to read these comments and posts.
P.S. I hope your daughter’s guidance counselor posts this column outside of his office door.
Patricia Hunt Sinacole is president of First Beacon Group LLC, a human resources consulting firm in Hopkinton.